Senatus consultum de Bacchanalibus  

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Senatus consultum de Bacchanalibus is a notable Old Latin inscription, dating to 186 BC. It is a decree of the Roman Senate prohibiting the Bacchanalia throughout all Italy except in certain special cases which must be approved specifically by the Senate. In spite of the severe punishment inflicted on those found in violation of this decree (Livy claims there were more executions than imprisonment), the Bacchanalia survived in Southern Italy long past the repression.

The surviving copy is inscribed on a bronze tablet discovered in Apulia in Southern Italy (1640), now at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

Q MARCIUS L F S POSTUMIUS L F COS SENATUM CONSOLUERUNTT N OCTB APUD AEDEM DUELONAI SC ARF M CLAUDI M F L VALERI P F Q MINUCI C F DE BACANALIBUS QUEI FOEDERATE ESENT ITA EXDEICENDUM CENSUERE NEIQUIS EORUM SACANAL HABUISE VELET SEI QUES ESENT QUEI SIBEI DEICERENT NECESUS ESE BACANAL HABERE EEIS UTEI AD PR URBANUM ROMAN VENIRENT DEQUE EEIS REBUS UBEI EORUM VTR A AUDITA ESENT UTEI SENATUS NOSTER DECENERET DUM NE MINUS SENATORIBUS CADESENT A RES COSOLETUR BACAS VIR NEQUIS ADIESE VELET CEIVIS ROMANUS NEVE NOMINUS LATINI NEVE SOCIUM QUISQUAM NISEI PR URBANUM ADIESENT ISQUE DESENATOUS SENTENTIAD DUM NE MINUS SENATORIBUS CADESENT QUOM EA RES COSOLERETUR IOUSISENT CENSUERE SACERDOS NEQUIS VIR ESET MAGISTER NEQUE MELIER QUISQUAM ESET NEVE PECUNIAM QUISQUAM EORUM COMOINEMHABUISE VELET NEVE MAGISTRATUR NEVE PRO MAGISTRATUO NEQUE VIRUM NEQUE MULIEREM QUIQUAM FECISSE VELET NEVE POST HAC INTER SED CONIOURA SE NEVE COMVOVISE NEVE CONSPONDISB NEVE COMPROMESISE VELET NEVE QUISQUAM FIDEM INTER SED DEDISE VELET SACRA IN DOVOLTOD NE QUISQUAM FECISSE VELEI NEVE IN POPLICOD NEVE IN PREIVATOD NEVE EXTRAD URBEM SACRA QUISQUAM FECISE VELET NISEI PR URBANUM ADIESET ISQUE DE SENATUOS SENTENTIAD DUM NE MINUS SENATORIBUS CADESENT QUOM EA RES COSOLERETUR IOUSISET CENSUERE HOMINES PLOUS V OINVORSEI VIREI ATQUE MULIERES SACRA NE QUISQUAM FECISE VELET NEVE INTER IBEI VIREI PLOUS DUOBUS MULIERIBUS PLOUS TRIBUS ARFUISE VELENT NISEI DE PR URBANI SENATUOSQUE SENTENTIAD UTEI SUPRAD SCRIPUTUM EST HAICE UTEI IN CONVENTIONID EXDEICATIS NE MINUS TRINUM NOUNDINUM SENATUOSQUE SENTENTIAM UTEI SCIENTES ESETIS EORUM SENTENTIA ITA FUIT SEI QUES ESENT QUEI AVORSUM EAD FECISENT QUAM SUPRAD SCRIPTUM EST ESIS REM CAPUTALEM FACIUNDAM CENSUERE ATQUE UTEI HOCE IN TABOLAM AHENAM INCEDERETIS ITA SENATUS AIQUOM CENSUIT UTEIQUE EAM FIGIER IOUBEATIS UBI FACILUMED GNOSCIER POTISIT ATQUE UTEI EA BACANALIA SEI QUA SUNT EXATRAD QUAM SEI QUID IBEI SACRI EST ITA UTEI SUPRAD SCRIPTUM EST IN DIEBUS X QUIBUS VOBEIS TABELAI DATAI ERUNT FACIATIS UTEI DISMOTA SIEN IN AGRO TEURANO

Translation into English

The inscription was translated by Nina E. Weston as follows.

"Quintus Marcius the son of Lucius, and Spurius Postumius, consulted the senate on the nones of October (7th), at the temple of the Bellonae. Marcus Claudius, son of Marcus, Lucius Valerius, son of Publius, and Quintus Minucius, son of Gaius, were the committee for drawing up the report.

Regarding the Bacchanalia it was resolved to give the following directions to those who are in alliance with us.

No one of them is to possess a place where the festivals of Bacchus are celebrated: if there are any who claim that it is necessary for them to have such a place, they are to come to Rome to the urban praetor, and the senate is to decide on those matters, when their claims have been heard, provided that not less than 100 senators are present when the affair is discussed. No man is to be a Bacchantian, neither a Roman citizen, nor one of the Latin name, nor any of our allies unless they come to the praetor urbanus, and he in accordance with the opinion of the senate expressed when not less than 100 senators are present at the discussion, shall have given leave. Carried.

No man is to be a priest; no one, either man or woman, is to be an officer (to manage the temporal affairs of the organization); nor is anyone of them to have charge of a common treasury; no one shall appoint either man or woman to be master or to act as master; henceforth they shall not form conspiracies among themselves, stir up any disorder, make mutual promises or agreements, or interchange pledges; no one shall observe the sacred rites either in public or private or outside the city, unless he comes to the praetor urbanus, and he, in accordance with the opinion of the senate, expressed when no less than 100 senators are present at the discussion, shall have given leave. Carried.

No one in a company of more than five persons altogether, men and women, shall observe the sacred rites, nor in that company shall there be present more than two men or three women, unless in accordance with the opinion of the praetor urbanus and the senate as written above.

See that you declare it in the assembly (contio) for not less than three market days; that you may know the opinion of the senate this was their judgment: if there are any who have acted contrary to what was written above, they have decided that a proceeding for a capital offense should be instituted against them; the senate has justly decreed that you should inscribe this on a brazen tablet, and that you should order it to be placed where it can be easiest read; see to it that the revelries of Bacchus, if there be any, except in case there be concerned in the matter something sacred, as was written above, be disbanded within ten days after this letter shall be delivered to you.

In the Teuranian field."

References

  • Diehl, Ernst: Altlateinische Inschriften. 5th ed. Berlin (1964)
  • L. Schumacher (ed.) Römische Inschriften, Stuttgart (1988) p. 79




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Senatus consultum de Bacchanalibus" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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